A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

(Ἀρχέλαος), a general of MITHRIDATES, and the greatest that he had. He was a native of Cappadocia, and the first time that his name occurs is in B. C. 88, when he and his brother Neoptolemus had the command against Nicomedes III. of Bithynia, whom they defeated near the river Amnius in Paphlagonia. In the next year he was sent by Mithridates with a large fleet and army into Greece, where he reduced several islands, and after persuading the Athenians to abandon the cause of the Romans, he soon gained for Mithridates nearly the whole of Greece south of Thessaly. In Boeotia, however, he met Bruttius Sura, the legate of Sextius, the governor of Macedonia, with whom he had during three days a hard struggle in the neighbourhood of Chaeroneia, until at last, on the arrival of Lacedaemonian and Achaean auxiliaries for Archelaus, the Roman general withdrew to Peiraeeus, which however was blockaded and taken possession of by Archelaus. In the meantime, Sulla, to whom the command of the war against Mithridates had been given, had arrived in Greece, and immediately marched towards Attica. As he was passing through Boeotia, Thebes deserted the cause of Archelaus, and joined the Romans. On his arrival in Attica, he sent a part of his army to besiege Aristion in Athens, while he himself with his main force went straight on to Peiraeeus, where Archelaus had retreated within the walls. Archelaus maintained himself during a long-protracted siege, until in the end, Sulla, despairing of success in Peiraeeus, turned against Athens itself. The city was soon taken, and then fresh attacks made upon Peiraeeus, with such success, that Archelaus was obliged to withdraw to the most impregnable part of the place. In the meanwhile, Mithridates sent fresh reinforcements to Archelaus, and on their arrival he withdrew with them into Boeotia, B. C. 86, and there assembled all his forces. Sulla followed him, and in the neighbourhood of Chaeroneia a battle ensued, in which the Romans gained such a complete victory, that of the 120,000 men with whom Archelaus had opened the campaign no more than 10,000 assembled at Chalcis in Euboea, where Archelaus had taken refuge. Sulla pursued his enemy as far as the coast of the Euripus, but having no fleet, he was obliged to allow him to make his predatory excursions among the islands, from which, however, he afterwards was obliged to return to Chalcis. Mithridates had in the meantime collected a fresh army of 80,000 men, which Doryalus or Dorylaus led to Archelaus. With these increased forces, Archelaus again crossed over into Boeotia, and in the neighbourhood of Orchomenos was completely defeated by Sulla in a battle which lasted for two days. Archelaus himself was concealed for three days after in the marshes, until he got a vessel which carried him over to Chalcis, where he collected the few remnants of his forces. When Mithridates, who was himself hard pressed in Asia by C. Fimbria, was informed of this defeat, he commissioned Archelaus to negotiate for peace on honourable terms, B. C. 85. Archelaus accordingly had an interview with Sulla at Delium in Boeotia. Sulla's attempt to make Archelaus betray his master was rejected with indignation, and Archelaus confined himself to concluding a preliminary treaty which was to be binding if it received the sanction of Mithridates. While waiting for the king's answer, Sulla made an expedition against some of the barbarous tribes which at the time infested Macedonia, and was accompanied by Archelaus, for whom he had conceived great esteem. In his answer, Mithridates refused to surrender his fleet, which Archelaus, in his interview with Sulla, had likewise refused to do; and when Sulla would not conclude peace on any other terms, Archelaus himself, who was exceedingly anxious that peace should be concluded, set out for Asia, and brought about a meeting of Sulla and his king at Dardanus in Troas, at which peace was agreed upon, on condition that each party should remain in possession of what had belonged to them before the war. This peace was in so far unfavourable to Mithridates, as he had made all his enormous sacrifices for nothing ; and when Mithridates began to feel that he had made greater concessions than he ought, he also began to suspect Archelaus of treachery, and the latter, fearing for his life, deserted to the Romans just before the outbreak of the second Mithridatic War, B. C. 81. He stimulated Murena not to wait for the attack of the king, but to begin hostilities

at once. From this moment Archelaus is no more mentioned in history, but several writers state incidentally, that he was honoured by the Roman senate. (Appian, de Bell. Mithrid. 17-64; Plut. Sull. 11_24; Liv. Epit. 81 and 82; Vell. 2.25; Florus, 3.5; Oros. 6.2; Paus. 1.20.3, &ec.; Aurel. Vict. de Vir. Illustr. 75, 76; Dio Cass. Fragm. n. 173, ed. Reimar.; Sallust. Fragm. Hist. lib. iv.)